Aug , 2021, Volume : 2 Article : 11
Aquaponics – Intelligent Technology Smart Fishing
Author : Sumit Mallick, Habiba Easmin and Imran Hussain
Cite this article as:
Mallick, S., Easmin, H., and Hussain, I. (2021) Aquaponics – Intelligent Technology Smart Fishing. Food and Scientific Reports. 2 (8) 50-52.
Aquaponics is a combining technique; set to revolutionize change in plants and aquatic products. The recycling of nutrients is critical and a necessary component of the system. This soilless farming enables fish waste to supply nutrient components to farmed plants via bio-filtration. Encouraging saving of water and thus resembles its periodic treatment and recirculation. Supportively, plants act as a natural alternative to other filters in the system partially. Modern Aquaponics from multi-dimensional methods of agriculture provides a sustainable measure of food production with higher efficacy. Thus, this study compiles the need and technical understanding of self–sustenance, and viability of Aquaponics.
Keywords: Aquaponics, bio-filter, symbiosis
Aquaponics is concord between plants and fishes and its offers a diverse and stable polyculture system that allows farmers to grow vegetables and raise fishes at the same time. Aquaponics already made waves in India as well as other parts of the developed world. It is an effective, reliable and incredible way to grow the required amount of vegetables, fruits and fishes. Additionally there is a inclining trend of urban agriculture, aeroponics, aquaponics, precision farming and vertical farming etc. (Wolfert, et al., 2017). Being an artificial set-up it gives us fruitful result without any harmful substances. As the day by day growing global population it has become clear to many people that the very nature of farming needs to change, that its current production is not sufficient to meet the food scarcity and need. By 2050, the planet will hold 2 billion more people (bringing the Earths total to 9 billion). It’s an alarming leap since we are already unable to provide the need based food supply as a whole.
Aquaponics: An unconventional symbiotic ecosystem
It’s a 21st century reality that environment concerns have had an impact in all areas of the world. Including agriculture environmental awareness has created increased consumer interest in locally grown sustainable food production. While advances in technology continued to improve farming productivity and efficiency. It still requires a large amount of very precious natural resources water and land. However there is a sustainable financially viable food production system exists, that utilizes approximately 2% of the water use of a conventional farm. This system combines fish farming and hydroponics to create a symbiotic environment known as Aquaponics.
Mechanism of Aquaponics
Aquaponics brings together the practices of aquaculture raising fish in tanks with hydroponics the practice of growing plants in a soilless environment in an aquaculture system waste accumulates in the tanks which eventually has to be removed to maintain the health of the fish. This by-product contains rich nutrients that plants filter out which allows the water to be recycled and sent back to the fish tanks to start the process all over again.
This technique can be proven as a scalable project. Keep in mind for every gallon of water in your fish tanks you could have ½ the 1 square feet of grow bed space depending on fish density and feeding rates and for every one pound of fish to be raised you need 1 to 2 gallons of water.
Aspects of fish farming in Aquaponics
The fish-farming aspects of Aquaponics is based on the eco-friendly recirculating aquaculture system. A recirculating system is an indoor system providing all types of control conditions. While there are economics advantages of not being affected by the outside elements there is a higher initial investment of equipment than there would be for cage or pond farming in the recirculating system. All proper fish husbandry practices to be applied as testing of water quality and monitoring for fish health etc. Electricity is crucial for success even though the water is being recirculated runoff and evaporation will occur and the water supply will need to be occasionally replenished. Back up electricity or some sort of power is necessary to keep the fish tank at the ideal temperature and run pumps to circulate water back between tanks. This type of optimal condition allows for a fast growing stock that is less susceptible to disease but regular observation is still an important factor in maintaining fish health. Any behavioral changes particularly during feeding are an indication of problems. The type of species we choose to raise will determine the feed we should use but whichever feed we select must provide a complete diet and auto or demand feeder is often used in the recirculating environment.
Components and functionality of aquaculture system
The key component to the recycling aquaculture system is the removal of the harmful waste products and uneaten food from the rearing tanks. While continuing to recycle the water instead of disposing of this material which you would do in a strictly aquaculture system. The practice of Aquaponics utilizes the fish effluent in the growth of plants in a hydroponic setting as the waste and uneaten food to collect at the bottom of the rearing tanks. It exits via PVC pipe to a clarifier or settler, where the anaerobic mineralization of the waste and uneaten food over time is collected and broken down.
Trace material such as iron should be adequate to meet plants nutritional needs. This mineral rich water then moves through the bio-filter. A bio-filter allows for the natural biological process called nitrification. The natural bacteria present in the water will use the oxygen in an aerobic process to efficiently convert the ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate. In aquaponics, the growth of plants from the aquaculture water fed system results in consumption of NH4+ which in turn converts NH3 to NH4+ for balance according to equation (1). Nitrifying bacteria present in the plant grow beds/bio filters convert ammonia to NO3-from which plants take up their nitrogen requirements in Aquaponics (Mitra, 2017). The bio-media in the bio-filter expedites the process by allowing the bacteria to colonize in an area with correct water temperature, pH and dissolve oxygen levels. These nitrate rich water then moves to the plants grow beds. That results in profitable symbiotic culture system.
Challenges and Environmental concern
Aquaponics is a beautiful representation of a how an ecosystem works and enhance the potential to mitigate the challenges of global food crisis. Aquaponics is very much organic environment friendly than conventional agricultural method. It is a closed system uses 90% less water than traditional agricultural farming. Waters are re-useable in this system that’s why it does not affect the ocean and river water with harmful fertilizers. Aquaponics is a realistic solution for sustainable, healthy and tasty food production. The production level is twice as fast as normal farming. We don’t use any pesticides, herbicides or other harsh chemicals it’s all grow natural. Aquaponics can bring nature back to the city and it reconnects people with the nature. There is no weeding or bending down. Aquaponics is 4 to 5 times more productive than soil gardening. Plants grow 2 to 3 times faster than they grow in soil because they get easy access nutrients 24 hours. Less space requires to grow crops. There is no weeding or bending down, which saves our lots of time and reduces labour works. In Aquaponics system we can grow food throughout the year. Plants that have higher nutritional demands are do well in heavily stocked, well established large Aquaponics system for example lettuce, tomato, kale, cucumber, bell pepper, mint, basil, cabbage, broccoli, squash, cauliflower, peas , beans etc. In case of fish the best suitable fish are Tilapia and carps. But, we can also cultivate other fishes like Murray cod, Catfish, Goldfish, Koi, Trout crappie, Guppy, Tetra fish etc.
Where there are lots of potential of Aquaponics including financial independence and having fresh organic veggies and fishes in your platter, there are some challenges that Aquaponics practices faces. Capital expenses are quite higher to set up on a large scale. Requires electric energy input to maintain and recycle water within the system. Set up requires some technical knowledge of Aquaponics system. To have a high profitability a good Aquaponics system need a green house. To make sure the quality of water is suitable for the fish water needs to be continuously monitored. The major downfall of Aquaponics system is there is some limitation of producing crops.
Being symbiotic integration in a closed ecosystem; Aquaponics is a promising technology for future. Presently different countries have adopted variances of Aquaponics methods. For example: Yumina-Bumina in Indonesia employs simple and locally available materials etc. Studies have evaluated the immense productivity, cost-effectiveness and positive environmental impacts and less hazards in Aquaponics. In the near future, efficient production of seedlings; saving of the valuable water; intensification of need based farming systems will become viable through hydroponic. In developing country like India, such technologies will help to harness the best of its potentials.
Mitra, Abhijit. (2017). Role of Aquaponics in the sustenance of coastal India – Aquaponics is a solution for modern agriculture in ecologically sensitive Indian mangroveSundarbans: A review. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies; 5(2): 441-448.
Wolfert, S., Ge, L., Verdouw, C. & Bogaardt, M. J. (2017). Big Data in smart farming- A review. Agricultural systems, 153, 69-80.
Aquaponics – Intelligent Technology Smart Fishing_compressed.pdf